Save Money With Thrifty Tips on Kids Clothing Adjustments

In a recent interview, we asked homemaker Nancy M. Wiley about sewing tips for adjusting children's clothing. This kind of adjustment can be made when an article of clothing becomes too small, or you purchase something that is not quite the right size. Some of her tips would actually be a great way to add design and special touches to any clothing item. Read on for Nancy's tips.

Nancy, how did you get started using lace for clothing adjustments?

I had two boys before the girl came along (4 1/2 years after the youngest son). I went right out and bought loads of lace! The lace stash (which I frequently add to) has come in quite handy as she grows and the dresses need lengthening.

What's your favorite way to use lace for adjusting your daughter's dresses and skirts?

I like to look at the dress and determine the most suitable method of lengthening that will keep in character with the dress. Occasional there is a dress with a wide white collar and adding lace on the bottom would be out of character. So I'll find a suitable scrap of white fabric and add about 5 or 6 inches to the hem. Then it looks as though it was purchased like that. I will also add a bit of trim such as braid or rickrack to the inevitable hem line from dropping the hem to cover up the evidence that I've lowered it (I may add more somewhere else on the dress to tie it together). It's unfortunate that method just will not work with my boys' pants!

Do you have other tips for adjusting clothing for a modest child?

I also found that ladies' petite sizes fit my daughter. That offers more selection in the search for modest clothing, since adult clothing styles can be found to be more traditional. On short skirts, I've often found that if I order a size or two larger but in the slim, I get the length she needs. Now that she is old enough to sing with the family, it's fun to find sweaters and or skirts (sometimes making them) that match and dress alike as mother and daughter.

How about your sons? Do you have tips for boys clothing?

Some of my sewing escapades include altering a tuxedo shirt for my oldest son last year (he is a freshman majoring in organ performance). The neck was too small and the sleeves were too short. I have a large stash of sheets I purchased just to sew with because of their higher thread count and poly / cotton blend that withstands wrinkles. I found some white that was as close a match as one could want for the shirt. I removed the old collar and sleeves, cut (I love single edge blades for this) open the seams and used them as a pattern. I reused the cuffs, as they were fine, and lengthened the new collar and sleeves. After changing the neck line on the shirt just a tad, I reassembled the shirt. He just about left the tux home when he was packing for school, but I whispered! He's now glad that he took it, as he wore it for the orchestra the other day for their first concert (he plays violin as well).

Thank you, Nancy, for your valuable tips!